Helen Hunt: ‘An Oscar’s not a big game-changer.’
By Martha Hayes
September 2, 2019
“It’s so funny when people ask: ‘What happened to you?’ Well, I had a baby – I made a whole person – and I co-wrote, directed and produced two entire films so it didn’t seem so quiet to me. There’s a difference between working hard and being famous.”
The films she is referring to are Then She Found Me (2007) and Ride (2014). The former centers on the complicated relationship between a 39-year-old woman (Hunt), who is estranged from her husband and longs for a child, and her biological mother (Bette Midler), who reappears in her life after the death of her adoptive mother. The film is loosely based on a novel by Elinor Lipman, but Hunt included a fertility struggle because, at the time, she was trying to get pregnant and it was all she could think about. “Having a biological clock pounding in my ears, I thought: ‘Well, if I’m going to play this part, she’s got to either have a baby or want to have a baby.”
Hunt spent 10 years getting the film off the ground, only for the distributor, Think Film, to go bankrupt before the film’s release, meaning there was no promotion and no advertising.
“That was the most crushing …” she breaks off. “It doesn’t take away from the experience of making it, but then you want people to see what you did. So that was hard; that was very hard.” In interviews from that time, she comes across as defensive and prickly. In hindsight, she was probably heartbroken. “I would like to blink and have everybody in the world have seen it,” she says now.